Study debunks theory of 'Napoleon complex'

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Napoleon, Stalin and Franco had more in common than being tyrants and dictators. They were all rather on the short side and helped to engender the belief that men of below average height were more aggressive than their taller peers.

But now the so-called Napoleon complex or Short Man Syndrome -- which determines that 80 per cent of the population believe that small men are angry -- has been put to the test by scientists who have established that, on average, it is tall men who are more likely to become the aggressor in conflicts.

The research is likely to be welcomed by shorter men, who have complained that they face discrimination and more challenges in life than their taller compatriots. Research has shown that shorter men tend to earn less and are deemed less attractive to women, although the three-times married Tom Cruise might disagree with the estimate that for every inch shorter you are, 5 per cent fewer women will find you attractive.

The short...

Napoleon Bonaparte

Psychologist Alfred Adler named the "Napoleon complex" after him. Historians disagree as to whether he was 5ft 2in (158cm) or 5ft 6in tall.

Josef Stalin

According to police records from 1902, the Russian despot measured "2 archin, 4-1/2 vershoks". An archin is 28 inches and a vershok 1.75 inches, suggesting he was 5' 4".

Josef Goebbels

The Minister of Propaganda and Public Entertainment in Nazi Germany -- nicknamed "the malicious dwarf" -- was 5ft 5in.

... and the tall of it

Saddam Hussein

The former Iraqi dictator, notorious for mass killings, inter-party "cleansings" and murderous whims, towered over most of his rivals at 6ft 2in.

Idi Amin

At 6 ft 4in, the former president of Uganda was as tall as his regime was brutal. His 10th son, Jaffar, once said most of his brothers were taller than their father.

Osama Bin Laden

The al-Qa'ida leader is described by the FBI as being tall - 6ft 4-1/2 - and thin, weighing in the region of 165 lbs (75kg).

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